Largest Drug Settlements in U.S. History

The drug industry is vast and brings in a lot of money for drug developers and manufacturers. However, it can be just as expensive when problems with side effects can occur. There are times when drugs and medical devices are developed and rushed to market for one reason or another. Lawsuits happen when unknown side effects harm the public. Currently, several suits going through this process including many for Invokana. Here are several of the most significant drug settlements in U.S. History.

Background of U.S. Drug Settlements

During the years of 1991 to 2012, there have been some of the most substantial drug settlements imposed by the United States Department of Justice. There have been some very large settlements. The amounts imposed in the agreements are both criminal and civil fines. Many of these penalties stem from drug companies violating the False Claims Act. The False Claims Act makes corporations and people liable when they defraud a governmental program. As governmental programs cover many drugs, this allows litigation by the government against those who try to be misleading.

Zyprexa Off-Label Use

Back in 2009, Eli Lilly had a settlement with the United States Department of Justice in the amount of 1.4 billion dollars. This settlement stemmed from their promotion of off-label uses for their drug, Zyprexa. Off-label uses mean that the drug company said it could be used for conditions that were outside of what the United States Food and Drug Administration’s agreed to for the drugs.

Depakote Off-Label Use

In another instance of off-label use, Abbott Laboratories was in violation of the False Claims Act in 2012 due to their actions. This settlement between the United States Department of Justice and the drug manufacturer of Depakote was for 1.5 billion dollars.

Several Johnson & Johnson Drugs

Risperdal, Nesiritide, and Invega are all produced by Johnson & Johnson. Each of these drugs was part of a drug settlement for 2.2 billion dollars due to the use of off-label promotion in 2013. In addition to the allegation of off-label promotion, Johnson & Johnson was also alleged to have use kickbacks to promote their drugs. This action is a type of bribery where a commission is given for a service. Both of these allegations had the result that the drug manufacturer was found to have violated several acts. Both the False Claims Act and the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act violations resulted in this drug settlement.

Several Pfizer Drugs

Pfizer is a pharmaceutical giant in the industry, and the settlement against them in 2009 is still the most massive criminal fine imposed on a drug company to date. A fine of 2.3 billon dollars given by United States Department of Justice was paid. This drug settlement included their drugs Lyrica, Bextra, Zyvox, and Geodon. This settlement was the result of both off-label use and kickbacks as in the Johnson and Johnson settlement.

Many GlaxoSmithKline Drugs

Another giant in the drug industry that had to settle both criminal and civil fines is GlaxoSmithKline. Several of the drugs that they produce were a part of this settlement. They include Zofran, Paxil, Valtrex, Avandia, Flovent, Wellbutrin, Imitrex, Advair, Lamictal, and Lotronex. The settlement for GlaxoSmithKline was three billion dollars. It included one billion dollars in criminal fines and two billion dollars for the civil settlement. The criminal violations included off-label promotion and their failure to inform the public about safety data regarding the drugs. The civil violations included kickbacks to doctors, false and misleading claims when it came to the safety of Avandia, underpaying rebates for the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, and giving the public wrong best prices. These alleged actions violated both the False Claims Act and the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Why Does This Information Matter?

Taking medication is a part of many Americans daily lives as seven out of ten people take them. Drugs and drug manufacturers should protect consumers from unknown side effects, negligence, and unfair practices. The drug industry pulls in much more money than they’ve had to pay out in fines and drug settlements. That’s why it’s important for patients to be aware of this information to help them make an informed decision about their healthcare. Holding companies accountable when they don’t release all the necessary information, make false claims, and promote off-label uses is one way to help protect other people from problems down the road. You could be protecting someone else by seeking a drug settlement.

If you or a loved one has had a serious side effect from a medication that you’ve taken, contact the Law Office of David Morowitz now. We can go over the details of your situation and plan the next move forward for your case. You have the right not to be a victim of by false claims or negligence. It can be daunting to think about going into a lawsuit against a large company like those in the pharmaceutical industry, but it’s important.